Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (ASX:GGG) has received encouraging test results from its Kvanefjeld Rare Earth Project in Greenland.
The concentrate grade has been boosted by 64% to more than 23% rare earth oxide (REO).
The increased grade will reduce processing capital and operating costs.
It also provides the company with the option to stage development of the project.
Kvanefjeld is one of the world’s most significant emerging rare earth projects.
Project has initial mine-life of 37 years
Based on an ore reserve of 108 million tonnes, the project has an initial mine life of 37 years.
Notably, this ore reserve only represents circa 10% of the 1 billion tonne-plus resource estimate.
It is projected to be one of the largest producers globally of key magnet metals including neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium, along with by‐production of uranium and zinc.
The optimisation is being carried out in conjunction with major shareholder Shenghe Resources Holding Co Ltd.
This work aims to improve metallurgical performance, simplify processing and improve the cost structure of the project.
The latest results represent a significant improvement on previous test work that generated concentrates of 15% REO.
A project feasibility study is based on a concentrate grade of 14%.
The 23% grade will result in substantial reductions in the size of equipment, reducing capital and operating costs of the processing circuit.
Direct sales of concentrates now possible
The higher mineral concentrate grades allow for consideration of direct sales of mineral concentrates from Kvanefjeld.
Greenland Minerals and Shenghe are investigating a phased development strategy to further reduce initial development capital requirements.
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Dr John Mair, managing director, said: “The metallurgical improvements achieved by Shenghe are extremely significant.
“They set the scene for an exciting 2018 as we roll‐out the integration of Shenghe’s leading rare earth technology and sector experience with the world’s most significant emerging rare earth project.
“The concentrator circuit is one of a number of focus areas, but increases in the order of 60% in concentrate grade will have a positive impact on the project’s efficiency and cost‐structure.”
Greenland Minerals is well-funded to continue its optimisation work, update project cost structure, feasibility studies and enhance its development strategy.